Building Communities Through Citizen Participation: Societal initiatives and the effects on social cohesion

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This thesis research discusses the contribution of three citizen initiatives on their contribution towards more horizontal cohesion. The research aims to provide knowledge on the manifestation of social cohesion in society by this qualitative research on societal initiatives and their impact on three dimensions of social cohesion. This exploratory research has used a qualitative case-study approach. Moreover, this empirical research underpins the previous research about the social relations dimension, contributes to knowledge about how social cohesion can appear on diverse geographical scales and social unities and thereby offers information on the process of connectedness. The results vary across the different cases, but one of the significant findings is that the social relations dimension is essential to societal initiatives. The projects have facilitated encounters between other participants whereby residents come into contact with each other while engaging in a citizen initiative. Moreover, the findings from the three cases suggest a relationship between the design of the initiative and the effects on place attachment. In general, this study demonstrates that such societal intervention techniques should not be overestimated and effects on social cohesion are more noticeable in the “mundane”.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen